Feeding two babies at a time
Jeanne posted a question about how to feed two 8 month old babies at the same time, especially when one is a difficult eater or when one baby keeps blocking the food with a thumb in mouth. The general consensus, with several variations, was that the easiest way to feed one baby is to use one bowl of food and one spoon, alterating bites. (Some of us, and I hate to admit that I am one of them, use this method even if one baby is sick. If they are going to take each others’ pacifiers and use them, does the same spoon really make a difference? Yep, this is how I rationalize exposing the well baby to the sick baby germs.) Several people use two bowls, so that they can see how much food each baby is getting. In my house, where both babies are chunky monkeys and usually quite happy to eat, I just shovel food into whichever baby seems interested.
How to deal with a thumb in the mouth?
I learn something new every day! Cheryl says that her doctor told her that the baby putting her thumb in her mouth after every bite is triggering her swallow reflex. Huh. So what looks like a difficult behavior to us is really adaptive? What smart babies…
I usually feed the other baby a couple of bites while waiting for baby #1 to become interested again. These days, there are lots of yummy finger foods on their trays, so fairly quickly those fingers leave the mouth in search of tasty finger food treats. And in goes another bite!
What if the baby won’t open her mouth?
LauraC had a great suggestion for distracting the baby enough to get food in. Put a toy in the baby’s hand. For example, a mooing cow–squeeze it to distract baby and then sneak food in. Check out this link for photos and a more detailed description of this method. http://jonandlaura.blogspot.com/2007/01/which-one-is-correct.html
As they get older, what I’ve done is offer more and more finger foods, so that the babies can munch on the finger foods and I can slip some pureed stuff in when they open their mouths to shove in cheese/pears/bananas or whatever else is on the menu that day. We started this around 9-10 months, but I think all babies are different when it comes to readiness for finger foods.
Another great suggestion for dealing with fussy babies at mealtime is to introduce signs. You can even just focus on a couple of key mealtime signs, such as “more” and “all done” if you’re not interested in using signs all the time. I’ve heard that starting this around 6-8 months can get you signs back by 8-10 months. We’re still waiting for baby signing in our house (at 10 months) but we keep on trying! One day…
For an online ASL dictionary that will give you more signs than you or your baby will ever need, try this website: http://commtechlab.msu.edu/Sites/aslweb/browser.htm
Do you have other great suggestions for how to make mealtimes work? Add them in the comments section for others to see and try!
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